Saturday, November 18, 2017

Philippians 3:20

For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. This begins with the word for, which ties it in with something before. And we note that in the context there are some who walk in such a manner that they are enemies of the cross. It is hard to believe that a member of the church which is the body of Christ would do such a thing. But there it is, and we also can see this sort of thing about us today. These are so amoral that they brag about their shame. They mind earthly things, which are defined in Colossians 3:5 as fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry. These things are to be mortified, put to death.

And why? Because our citizenship, our homeland, is in heaven. And certainly this sort of thing should never be the character of those who claim heaven as their homeland. This heaven is the same as the heavenly places mentioned in Ephesians five times.

How does one get this citizenship? God... hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us up together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-6). Our citizenship is there because we are potentially there at this moment. We have our citizenship papers on the basis of this testimony.

Then we must look at the word also. It is not there to emphasize the place, nor even the looking, but has to do with the character of the One for Whom we are looking. So it would read (in the Greek), From whence we look for A SAVIOUR also - the Lord Jesus Christ.

Note here that full title of Christ, and as it is used among and for the Gentiles, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Since this is so tightly bound together, we did not use commas in the expression. Nothing between.

Israel's homeland is the Promised Land, that was promised to Abraham. This is where their kingdom will be. This is where their King will reign. So they are citizens of their homeland. But at present moment they are strangers to this land, outcasts, and not God's people. They are scattered among the nations. But some day their King will come. They will be looking for Him from their homeland, and He will appear in the skies and come to the earth in that day.

Then we can see that the church will have to be removed also to its homeland, and then, will look for their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in that locale, not some other, and certainly not from the earth.

Truly we can comfort each other with these wonderful words. What a hope!

And that hope is the appearing. When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory (Colossians 3:4). Here also is in right order. Even as He must appear, so must we appear, and in same place, glory.

Creation, as we know it, is made up of three elements; time, space, and matter. God, in His essence, is not subject to any of these in any way. He is not measured by time, confined by space, or limited to matter. So we cannot locate God, tell how old He was, or know any form He may have assumed before the creation.

But in the beginning He created the heavens and the earth. The Creator had taken on a visible form to create. And this Creator later on walked in the garden in Eden with Adam.

There is a location, a place (for want of better words), outside the Cosmos or creation. It is far above all heavens. It is called the heaven of heavens in the O.T. The first time we hear of it is in Deuteronomy 10:14, Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.

You will find it mentioned 9 more times in the following; l Kings 8:27; Nehemiah 9:6; Psalms 8:1; 57:5; 57:11; 108:5; 113:4; 115:16; 148:4.

In all these nothing is said about it in way of description. It is where God dwells. No mention of other beings there.

It has no connection with the kingdom of heaven, which is from the created heavens, of the present Cosmos (Genesis 1:6).

Christ ascended up far above all heavens (Ephesians 4:10). There is an inheritance in the saints, or holy of holies (Ephesians 1:18). In this same place members of the mystery church are fellow-citizens (Ephesians 2:19). Members of the body have an inheritance in that place (Colossians 1:12). it is where Christ will appear (be manifested) and is called glory (Colossians 3:4). The believer who is a member of the mystery church has his conversation or citizenship in that place (Philippians 3:20).

This place has a peculiar designation in the epistle to the Ephesians which occurs nowhere else in all the Bible. The expression in Greek is en lois epouraniois and translated in heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3; 1:20; 2:6; 3:10; and 6:12). A member of the body of Christ today can say, hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. This is the central member of the 5 references above.

Let us set these in structure form;

A. 1:3. Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places.

B. 1:20. He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all...

C. 2:6. And made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

B. 3:10. Principalities and powers in heavenly places.

A. 6:12. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood in high places (en lois epouraniois) but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness.

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